Angry Alvarez on McDonald case handling: 'I'd rather lose an election'
Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez on Thursday angrily defended her handling of the Laquan McDonald police shooting case and repeated emphatically that she will not resign.
Her remarks came as protesters were staging a 16-hour sit-in at the Cook County Administration Building to demand Alvarez's resignation, ABC 7 reported.
Alvarez and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel are under mounting pressure to step down after the release Nov. 24 of dash-cam video showing a white Chicago police officer shooting McDonald, a black teenager, 16 times as the teen walked away on a Southwest Side street in October 2014.
Emanuel fired Garry McCarthy from his position as superintendent of the Chicago Police Department earlier this week.
Alvarez and Emanuel fought to keep the video from being released and brought murder charges only when the judge intervened, protesters said, according to ABC 7. But Alvarez defended her office and said the case was complicated and involved many jurisdictions.
"I'd rather lose an election than compromise the integrity of my investigation," she said.
Alvarez called the notion of a cover-up "absurd."
"Let's think about this," Alvarez said. "If Anita Alvarez wanted to whitewash a case, if Anita Alvarez was going to look the other way, if Anita Alvarez wasn't going to do her job and look at this case ... who are my co-conspirators going to be? Let me see. I'm going to call on the head of the FBI to help me. He could be a co-conspirator with me. Let me call on the United States attorney of northern Illinois and say, 'Zach, come on. Be a co-conspirator with me because I plan on covering this up.' That is just absurd."
Cook County Commissioners John Fritchey and Jesus "Chuy" Garcia said they are filing a resolution seeking to have Alvarez appear before the Criminal Justice Committee of the Cook County Board, ABC 7 reported. They want Alvarez to answer questions about the McDonald shooting investigation and the timing of the murder charges.
"Why did those charges suddenly appear once the video was ordered to be released? That deserves an explanation," Fritchey said.
"I would want to know why it took this long -- as long as it did -- for her to bring charges about? The video has not changed," Garcia said.
Alvarez fired back. She said neither of the commissioners called her or asked for a meeting.
"I would be willing to talk in a professional manner. I am not going to be subjected to some political grandstanding and circus, which is what I think they have in mind," Alvarez said.
"Commissioner Fritchey is one of the most self-serving people I have ever met," Alvarez continued.
About Garcia, she said: "He knew that tape was available back in April when the city made the settlement. Did Commissioner Garcia stand up here and yell and scream he wanted to see that video?"
Alvarez said she will not resign and has refused to bow to political pressure.
"I absolutely have no intention of stepping down. I was voted in to do a job and I'm doing that job," Alvarez said.
Alvarez filed to run for re-election in 2016 and will face Kim Foxx, former chief of staff to Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, and former prosecutor Donna More in the March Democratic primary.
U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez of Chicago wrote a letter Tuesday to Alvarez saying he's withdrawing his support for her, the Chicago Sun-Times reported. Additionally, Preckwinkle and six of the city's 10 Hispanic aldermen have called for Alvarez to step down.
"I've done this job for 29 years, speaking on the behalf of victims of Cook County. The majority of victims being minority," Alvarez said. "And to be betrayed in this light by seasoned politicians with political agendas is disgusting and degrading."